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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: writer wednesday, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Writer Wednesday: Where Writers Ever Just Writers?

Lately I've been wondering if writers were ever just writers. Sure, I guess we could just write books, send them to our agent, who submits to publishers, and let the chips fall where they may while we write the next book. But would we really find success if we ignored all the other jobs writers have?

Today more than ever, writers have to be great at marketing. I'm talking getting your books out there by identifying who your fans are and making sure your book is seen by those fans. Everything from interacting on social media, joining Goodreads and FB groups, setting up book signings, creating teaser images, maintaining a website, blogging, offering free content... The list goes on and on. 

Sometimes I'm left wondering when I'm supposed to write. I'm getting one book ready for production and another ready for my editor, and what I noticed is that some parts of these books are foreign to me. I'm so far removed from when I drafted them that I don't remember writing certain parts. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Distance gives you perspective and can really help during the revision process. But I actually have to schedule writing time. Part of me finds that crazy. I used to just write. Nothing else. Now I'm writing, editing, marketing, and self-publishing. I feel like I wear a thousand hats each day.

So I'm wondering, was it always this way? Or has it gotten worse with time? What do you think?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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2. Writer Wednesday: A Little Perspective

Since I became a part of this crazy world that is book publishing, my goals and perspective have shifted several times. At first, I dreamed of book deals and best-seller lists. Then I learned that this industry is can be harsh. I'm not talking about bad reviews from readers. I'm talking about the industry itself. It's slow. Publishers go under or don't honor contracts, which leads to rights reversions. Agents can come and go as well.

I've been through a lot, and it's made me change my perspective. I no longer stalk my spreadsheet when my agent has one of my books on submission. It's not that I don't care. I definitely do. But I've come to the conclusion that not every book needs to be published traditionally. So if a good publisher wants my book, that's fantastic. If a book doesn't get picked up, I know it's not the end of the world. I'll hire a great editor and self-publish. If I have too much time between releases, I look at the books I have written, decide which would be better suited for self-publishing, and get that in the works so readers are continuing to get new books from me.

Being a hybrid author is freeing. I don't feel the stress I once did in this industry, and I'm much happier for it. Has your perspective changed after being in this industry for a while?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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3. Writer Wednesday: Revising Through Difficult Times

I've been quieter than usual online for the past few days because my great-uncle passed away. While the death of a loved one is never easy, it came at a peculiar time for me. I've been proofing the print ARC of Visions of Mockingbird Point, and while I was doing this, I realized my uncle is all over this book.

The grandparents' house in the story is actually my uncle's old house in Maryland (though in the book, the location is not Maryland). The details of the long driveway and the house with a sitting room in back that looks out over the sloping backyard leading to the dock… They're all from my memories of visiting my uncle. I have a lot of great memories of him, and I was able to get some comfort in rereading my book that was full of those good times. I had forgotten how many things from my time with him slipped into this story.

It wasn't easy to proofread through tears, but they were tears of joy. Happy memories that I'll allow to help me through this difficult time. He will live on in my heart, my memories, and this book. So thank you, Uncle Jerry. This book wouldn't be what it is without you and neither would I.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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4. Writer Wednesday: The Line Between MG and YA

Today's topic comes from Sheena-Kay, who asked how to keep the line between your MG and YA works separate, especially when it comes to knowing to what extent you can go with MG vs. YA.

Okay, so we all know the age difference for MG vs. YA. YA is targeted at teens and the characters tend to be fifteen to eighteen. MG is targeted at the nine to twelve age group with the characters typically around the age of eleven to fourteen. (Keep in mind there are exceptions to every rule, but this is a good rule of thumb to go by.) Voice and content are the other two big distinctions.

One of the biggest differences I see is that middle grade is typically more hopeful with happy endings while young adult tends to have a lot of angst. While it's true that many middle grade readers might be cursing and doing things we ourselves didn't do at that age, you don't typically see that in MG books. The stories focus more on the adventures and the character's immediate surroundings—their relationships with family and friends. YA is more about finding your place in the world. There's a lot more self-reflection by the characters, and profanity and even sex can have a place in the story.

I like to think of middle grade as more innocent. A time when you believe the world consists of you, your friends, and your family. YA, on the other hand, is more realistic. You know there's this big world out there and you are struggling to fit into it.

Sheena-Kay, I hope that answers your question. If anyone has any tips for distinguishing between MG and YA, please feel free to leave them in the comments.  

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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5. Writer Wednesday: Broadening Your Reach

As authors, one thing we are constantly trying to do is broaden our reach. You need people to know you and your books exist. So how do you do that? Here are a few ways you should take advantage of:

  • Interviews ~ Never say no to someone who wants to interview you for their blog, newspaper, podcast, etc. I recently did an interview on Super Teacher Worksheets, and it was great. This gets your name out there to readers you may not have otherwise met. (If you're interested, you can read my interview here.)
  • Guest Blog ~ Again, this gets you a new set of readers if the blog you are appearing on has a different following than your own. So reach out to some blogs that you love and see if you can do a guest post for them.
  • Multi-author Giveaways ~ These are fantastic because readers love giveaways. When authors join forces, they join readerships too. That's a very good thing.
  • Blog Hops ~ There are some big blog hops out there. I mean BIG. Getting involved with those will get your book and your name in front of tons of people.
  • Follow Other People's Followers ~ That was a mouthful! What I mean is check out authors you admire and see who they are following and who is following them. Then start following those people too. This is a great way to meet new readers. (This works for Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Use Different Blog Tour Companies ~ We all have those tour companies we love to work with, but they have a base of bloggers they work with. That means using them repeatedly only gets you in front of the same pool of readers. Try other companies as well to find new readers.
These are just a few ways to broaden your reach. Do you know of others? Please share in the comments so we can learn from each other.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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6. Writer Wednesday: Encouragement

REMINDER: I'll be on a one-week blogging break beginning Friday, July 8th. I'll see you back here on Friday, July 15th.

Lately, I've seen a lot of writers who are just down in the dumps. They're either discouraged because they are experiencing writer's block or they are in the process of separating from a publisher who isn't right for them or they've been on submission for months with no bites from editors. :(

As you probably know, my daughter has been writing her first book. She was so excited when she first began and the idea just flowed. She wrote every day with no shortage of ideas. Well, she's hit the late-middle slump. She knows the ending of her book, but is stuck at the point leading to the climax. She needs some encouragement, and I'm sure some of us could use some too.

So, today I'm asking you to share your words of wisdom in the comments for how you push through when you're going through the many downs that we experience on this roller coaster we call writing. To start you off, here's my advice:

Freewrite anything and everything that comes to mind. Sometimes the act of writing (no matter what about) will inspire creativity and get you over the hump.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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7. Writer Wednesday: Editing While Writing?

On this week's Monday Mishmash, Mirka Breen asked me how I manage my time to be able to edit for others while still working on my own writing. Quite honestly, I'm terrible at it. ;)

I binge write. Whenever I have a small gap in my editing schedule, I fast draft a book. The reason is that I can't (I've tried, but I can't!) write and edit at the same time. I can, however, revise one of my books will also editing for clients. So, sometimes I split my day between those two tasks. 

I find writing to be all-consuming though. When I'm drafting, my brain can only focus on getting that story down on screen. I become somewhat obsessed with the characters and world I've created. They dictate my life few a couple weeks, and only when I'm finished drafting do they release me back to the real world. This is why I write so quickly! 

I wouldn't recommend this method of time management to anyone else, though. I'm the first to admit it's completely insane, but this is how my brain works and what works for my schedule, so here I am. ;)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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8. Writer Wednesday: Didn't You Just Say That?

April has been a crazy month for me with more edits than I've ever had in a single month. It also made me notice a trend. Writers tend to repeat themselves.

I found myself using the delete key quite often and commenting that something had already been stated, usually in the same paragraph or on the same page. As writers, we don't want to do this because it's insulting to the reader. Readers are smart. They'll remember things and even pick up on things the writer might not have realized. Trust me. I taught 8th grade language arts and saw it happen all the time.

Another error that goes in the same category is saying something in the narration that gets repeated in the dialogue that follows it. When this happens, it's usually is a case of Tell then Show. Just show. Let the dialogue speak for itself and use your narration for better things, like setting the scene or witty internal thoughts. 

So without repeating myself—See what I did there? ;) —trust your readers to be intelligent enough to remember what you've already told them. 

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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9. Writer Wednesday: So You Think You Can Edit?

Yeah, I'm cringing at that post title too. ;) You all know I like to amuse myself though, and that's what my brain concocted for the question submitted for today's Writer Wednesday. What is that question? Check it out:

"How does someone go about becoming an editor and how you know how good you are at editing?"

Okay, well answers for this are going to vary, so let me share my journey. First, I went to college to become an English teacher, which is exactly what I was for seven years before switching careers. So, I have a degree in English. While I loved literature, some of my favorite classes were actually grammar courses. Call me crazy but I love grammar rules. Yes, I'm the girl who corrects people's grammar on a regular basis. No, I'm not sorry about it. I love grammar.

From teaching, I moved into proofreading (for a school district actually). That's when I discovered I love to edit. So I set up a page on my website to offer my services, and then I blogged about it with a very special offer. I'd edit up to 10 pages for free so people could try me out. I offered that for one month, and I picked up my first clients. Luckily for me, they were happy with my work and I still work with many of them today, years later.

Once I'd been editing for a while, I started working for several small presses, which looked good on my resume and landed me more freelance clients. That pretty much brings us to today, where I'm in the fortunate situation to have a healthy list of regular clients. I'm busier than ever and even have to turn people away at times because I tend to book months in advance.

As far as how to know how good you are at editing, your clients will tell you. Repeats are happy customers. I can say that in order to be a good editor, you must live on Merriam-Webster and Chicago Manual of Style. I check everything against those sites.

That's my journey. A love of the English language, a degree, some free trials, and now more editing jobs than I could ever fulfill. :) 

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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10. Writer Wednesday: How to Annoy An Author

The other day I got a message on one of my social media accounts that began with the words "I don't mean to be rude…" Right away, I knew the message was going to be rude. The guy just told me as much. It was yet another person telling me I should give away paperbacks for free. Not ebooks. Paperbacks.

AHHHHHH!!!! I'm sure you can hear me screaming wherever you are. I REALLY wanted to respond, "I don't mean to be rude, but I think you should send me your paychecks from now on." Because seriously, that's what he's asking me to do for him. What's fair is fair, right?

Here's why this irks me so much: 
  • I give away a lot of free books, both in ebook and paperback formats. I tend to reserve paperbacks for newsletter subscribers because I feel your loyal fans should be rewarded. Giveaway opportunities are definitely there and I pay for the cost of the printed books and the postage, which is insanely high when the winner is international.
  • Whenever I have a new release, I provide interested reviewers with e-ARCs. 
  • I also have a bunch of perma free books that anyone can go ahead and download at no charge. They're all listed on my website.

So telling me I should giveaway paperbacks for free… Yeah, I'm annoyed. In the end, I deleted the message, and should I get another, I'll block the sender. I really think if you have to preface a statement with "I don't mean to be rude" you know full and well that you are absolutely being rude. Plain and simple, writers are entitled to being paid for their hard work just like everyone else. 

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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11. Writer Wednesday: Two Become One

In my Monday Mishmash and all over social media last week, I announced that I'm merging Ashelyn Drake and Kelly Hashway. Why you ask?

When I initially launched the pen name, Ashelyn Drake, I wanted to make sure I could stand on my own two feet as a romance author, separate from Kelly Hashway. Once I did that, I revealed Ashelyn Drake and Kelly Hashway are the same person. And since then, I've been using this banner to show that I'm still one person even though I write under two names: 

The problem is, I wasn't acting like one person. I have separate Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and blogs for Kelly and Ashelyn. Why? My website, newsletter, and Instagram are for both names, so why aren't my other social media accounts?

From now on, they will be. I'm moving Ashelyn over to Kelly. You'll notice my Facebook page now has both names listed. As does my blog. Twitter won't allow enough characters to display both names, but you'll see this banner and Ashelyn's name appear in my bio.

Very soon, Ashelyn's accounts will disappear, so make sure you're following the new links below to stay up to date on my Ashelyn Drake romance books as well as my Kelly paranormal and upcoming mystery/suspense/thrillers (Yes, I'm branching out!):


Look at that. Kelly and Ashelyn are truly merging into one author with two names, just like the slogan says. :)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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12. Writer Wednesday: Protecting Yourself as an Author

Over the past several months, this industry has seen many publishers go south. I'm referring to them closing for various reasons and/or getting exposed for not paying their authors. First, let's be clear that I'm not going to name any publishers or speak ill of any either. The intent of this post is to simply inform authors and help them in seeking a publisher for their work.

One question that seems to pop up a lot in writer forums is how to know if you're signing with a "good" publisher. To be honest, sometimes you can sign with a great publisher and then that publisher is bought out, which changes everything. Other times you sign with a publisher that has good intentions but winds up going under. And other times still, things look great on the surface but there's another world happening behind the scenes and it's not good in the least. 

So what's an author to do? The best advice I can give you is to find out which authors are with the publisher you're interested in and then contact those authors to hear what their experiences have been like. I have people do this with me all the time, and I'm very honest about my experiences, both good and bad (and yes, there have been bad ones). Also, if you notice an author has left that publisher, find out why. Keep in mind that nondisclosure agreements might keep some authors from dishing the gory details, but that should also send up a red flag. Nondisclosure agreements are set in place for a reason. As a writer, you should question that reason.

Please, research and contact authors to find out what's really going on outside of the public eye. Protect yourself and your work.  

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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13. Writer Wednesday: Summer Reading/Writing

My daughter starts summer break today, so we're selecting books to read together in our own little book club. I love reading with her (we take turns reading aloud to each other) because she has such great insights. It also means I get to read some good middle grade books.

In addition to reading this summer, I need to get my Ashelyn Drake contemporary romance, After Loving You, ready for its September release. This story is very special to me because I'm a firm believer that you don't ever stop loving someone, but you can change the way you love them. If you're not sure what I mean, you'll have to read the book in September to find out. ;)

So my summer will consist of lots of reading and writing, because they go hand in hand. Learning from great authors is my favorite form of research, not to mention the most enjoyable way to improve your craft.

Have you selected your summer reads? Feel free to share them in the comments.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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14. Writer Wednesday: Guest Blogger Ayla Hashway Talks About Writing Her First Novel

It gives me great pleasure to introduce my guest blogger today. She's writing her first novel and she happens to be my nine-year-old daughter, Ayla. Please welcome her!

Hi, I'm Ayla and I am proud to say that I am in the middle of writing my first novel! I found out that you should do the book on paper first so it's mostly copying off of the paper. It also helps to write notes so it goes faster. I think picking out a cover once you have most of it planned is easier so you can describe it better. Also, add in a lot of detail to make it more interesting. You also do the cover ahead of time because then it will motivate you to do your best and work on it more. 

I had writers block right in the one part of my book, so my mom and I went on a walk and talked it through. It literally took an hour, so don't rush on the book. It will not do you any good. Writing is a lot of fun if you don't rush, plan it through, and do your best! Another thing is don't always pick out the title first because as I went on I realized that the original name didn't go along any more.

I hope you all have fun writing, so keep calm and write on! I hope you enjoy reading and writing your own books.

Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone, Ayla. I can't wait to see your book once it's finished! <3 span="">

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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15. Writer Wednesday: Reflecting on 2015

At the end of each year, I like to reflect on what I've accomplished. I do set goals at the start of each year, but unexpected things happen. So here's my year in review:

The really funny part is that I didn't think I did a lot this year, but when I write it all out I feel a little exhausted. ;) Seven books published? Really? I guess the year was better than I thought. 

What did 2015 look like for you?

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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16. Writer Wednesday: Don't Rush Your Editor

I've been editing a lot this past year and I'm booked for the next three months, so 2016 doesn't seem like it will be any different. Because I'm editing so much, I wanted to share what I believe is the biggest mistake you can make with your editor.

DON'T RUSH YOUR EDITOR. I want to repeat that. Don't rush your editor. I see this all the time. I have some clients who are very successful with self publishing. That's fantastic. It really is. But here's what you need to understand. If you give yourself a deadline, whether it be because you put your fabulous new book up for pre-order or you're entering a contest with an agent or publisher, then PLEASE make sure you can keep to your own deadlines. I get clients who email me to say they won't be able to submit their book to me on time because they got caught up with life. I get it. Life happens. But here's the problem. I schedule editing clients months in advance. If you are late, you obliterate my editing schedule, which affects not just me but my other editing clients. Worse, you're now asking me to RUSH your edit to keep the deadline you yourself missed. :( 

This is why I hate this. If I have to rush, I can't do my best when it comes to your edit. I'm looking very closely for errors so readers don't slam you and your book for them. If you rush me, I'm going to miss things. I go through every book I edit multiple times to avoid errors slipping through. I need time to do that and to do it well. Given the option between moving your release date or putting out a book that was edited in a rush, I'd choose moving your release date every time. This is your baby. You spent countless hours writing it, so why rush the editing?

So that's my plea. Please don't rush your editor. He or she is working just as hard on your book as you are, so give him/her the time needed to edit your work properly.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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17. Writer Wednesday: 2016 Goals and an Announcement

I've been thinking about my writing goals for a while now, and to be honest it wasn't easy to come up with them this year. The reason is because my editing took off last year, and that's impacted my writing. While I want to write a set number of books, it's just not possible to predict how many I'll be able to write.

At the moment, I'm booked through April with client edits. That doesn't even factor in my edits for Leap Books. What that means is I will have very little time to write during those months. :( I'm a fast drafter, so give me about eight days free of edits and I'll draft an entire book. I'll have to start scheduling writing time into my edits after April, though, and block out those days from potential clients.

So my goals for 2016 are going to be very general:
  • Write as much as I can.
  • Read for enjoyment as much as I can.
  • Try not to let my editing schedule consume me by scheduling breaks.
  • Release my entire Into the Fire Trilogy.
  • Release my entire Curse of the Granville Fortune Trilogy.
  • Remember I'm only human.
That's it. I'm not going crazy this year. I won't put huge expectations on my shoulders. I will remember I'm only one person and I'll do what is realistically doable.

Now, on to my announcement. Well, actually it's an announcement of a future announcement. Next week I'll be announcing a new opportunity for my readers. As always, my street team, Kelly's Coven and my newsletter subscribers will hear about it first, which means those individuals will have first dibs at this opportunity. I'll post the news here a few days later. Want to be one of those lucky people to get first dibs? Sign up for my street team and/or my newsletter. If you'd like to join Kelly's Coven you can do so here. Or you can subscribe to my newsletter here.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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18. Writer Wednesday: A BIG Announcement!

Have you heard the big news? I’m announcing a brand new street team! This street team is NOT a Kelly Hashway or an Ashelyn Drake street team, but rather a street team for the Into The Fire trilogy! The first book, Into The Fire, has gotten a gorgeous new cover to match the second two books in the series, and it is being re-released with heavy edits. That means, it’s basically a new book!  What better time to get you guys involved than with the re-release of the first book?

Here are the details:

Only 20 members will be chosen. This means you will be part of a very elite group of bloggers/reveiwers, and readers alike.

It’s vital you understand you’re accepting the time commitment that comes with it.
While I want you to have fun, I’m choosing a very select group of people so that:
1. You’re able to form close bonds with each other
2. We’re able to get you better exclusives - in the form of ARCs, special edition swag, and being able to hang out” virtually with me.

The number one goal (and something you *must* do to be a member) is to agree to post your *honest and unbiased* review during release weeks!

There will be other tasks as well - that aren’t requirements - but that will be highly encouraged (and rewarded).

You can apply here: http://goo.gl/forms/cM0XD961ZC or below:

*** Important *** 
The app will close on January 21st, so make sure you get your application in before that day. Once the application closes, there will be no exceptions to allow you to fill it out, as my social media manager and I need time to sort through the responses and pick the team. We hope to have a team together by January 25th, but please be patient with us as we sort through the applications.

Thank you!

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19. Writer Wednesday: Decoding the Positive Rejection

On Monday, Fi Phillips was nice enough to suggest a topic for this week's Writer Wednesday. Here's Fi's question:

If you keep getting your book back from agents saying that it's great, they enjoyed reading it, keep sending it out, but it's not for them (with the additional phrase that it's all subjective), does that mean that the book isn't good enough or simply that I haven't found the right agent yet?

The hardest thing about a rejection like this one is that it means exactly what it says. You're doing everything right, except finding the right agent. This is actually a good rejection to get, but it can break your heart too. What you should take from this is that someone (maybe more than one agent) likes your work. That's a good thing. The problem is, and I can say this from experience as an acquisitions editor, you need to find the person who loves your book as much as you do. I read a lot of good manuscripts. I'm only open to agented submissions right now, so these manuscripts got the attention of agents. That must mean they're pretty good, right? Yes, but it doesn't mean I'll love them.

Me, specifically. I read each book I work on countless times. I have to still love it after I've poured over each word and practically memorized the book. If I don't, I can't work on it. An agent is much the same. They have to love your book so much they'll cry if they don't get to work with you on it. (Okay, maybe not cry, but you know what I mean.)

So this rejection means just what it says. You're doing everything right. You wrote a great book. Now find that agent who loves it as much as you do. He or she is out there somewhere.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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20. Writer Wednesday: Handling Conflicting Feedback

Today's Writer Wednesday topic comes from Mirka Breen. She wants to know how you approach contradictory feedback on your WIP.

If you're getting feedback on your work, you're doing the right thing as far as taking measures to improve your manuscript. But that doesn't mean it will be easy. Getting contradictory feedback from beta readers, agents, or even editors can throw you for a loop. If this happens, there are two things you should do.

First, remember that reading is subjective. If the feedback is about something that could be personal preference, then there is likely no need to fix it. If one reader doesn't like a character quirk or the way a character handled a situation, then that's reader preference, not necessarily something you did wrong as the author. Similarly, if a reader hates that you ended with a cliffhanger, that's personal preference again. I happen to love cliffhangers. ;) So basically this kind of feedback is preparing you for future reviews and how different readers will have different reactions to your book. There's nothing wrong with that.

The second thing you should do is look at the feedback and decide if you agree or not. It's YOUR book. Let me repeat that. It's YOUR book. You know the world and the characters best. If you feel you did what is best for your book and only one person questioned it, you're fine. Now, if you reflect on that feedback and think there's a possibility that reader is right, then you should try making adjustments and seeing if those adjustments improve the story. They just might.

So really, you have to decide what feedback you listen to and what feedback you chalk up to personal opinion.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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21. Writer Wednesday: Into the Fire Street Team Revealed!

Applications have been carefully reviewed and the official Into the Fire street team has been selected. Before I share the list of people who made the team, let me just say that this experience was very surreal for me. I was amazed at how many people submitted applications and how excited people were at the prospect of being selected. I want to thank everyone who applied, and know that even if you weren't selected (because we committed to only taking 20 people to keep the group small—and I still took one extra because narrowing down this list was SO hard!), you made my day and have my gratitude for wanting to help me promote this series.

Okay, without further ado, here is the official Into the Fire street team!

Keren Hughes ~ Gothic Angel Book Reviews
Jennifer Helms ~ @JenBibiHelms 
Shieka Doctor ~ Doctor's Notes
Stephanie Belden ~ @smbmar 
Veray Carter ~ @pinkladyroses 
Michelle Willms ~ Michelle Willm's Blog
Janera Holt ~ Booknut101: Once Upon a Time
FSMeurinne ~ Book Enticer
Rachel Andrews ~ Rachel's Book Reviews
Elizabeth Thiele ~ Crazii Bitches Blog
Maghon Thomas ~ Happy Tails and Tales
Jessica Porter ~ Crossroad Reviews
Denise Cayetano ~ I Am Shelfless
Beth Consugar ~ @eaconsugar
Stephanie Faris ~ Stephanie Faris
Kat Romeo ~ Living in a Fictional Reality
G. Donald Cribbs ~ G. Donald Cribbs Books
Kristen Chandler ~ Shelf_Life
Rachel Gunter ~ Bookish Wonderland
Ashley Kemp ~ Mama Reads
Brie Chelton ~ @Chapter_Break

Some of these amazing people have supported my other books and some are completely new to me, but they are all equally incredible for wanting to be part of this series. I thank them all immensely.

First up for promo of Into the Fire is the cover reveal happening this Saturday through Monday. And guys, it's so GORGEOUS!!!!! I can't wait for you to see it. So, that means my usual Friday Feature post will actually be on Saturday so I can share the cover. Be sure to stop back on Saturday. :)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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22. Writer Wednesday: Revamping Your Newsletter

I was all set to answer a reader question, but there's something else that I want to share with you all today. It's about newsletters. Last week I mentioned that mine was changing and in a big way for my subscribers. Well, I didn't realize that those changes would also be big for me. Here's how.

First, I changed the subject line of my newsletters. I used to boringly title them with the month and the year. *Yawn* Seriously, what was I thinking? The newsletter I sent out a few days ago was titled "Just For You: A Sneak Peek, A Giveaway, and a FREE Story!" Surprise, surprise, I had my highest open rate ever! I mean, come on. This is way more exciting than the month and year. I promised you free stuff, the potential to win something, and a sneak peek. That's much more interesting and gives you a reason to click on it and see what's inside.

Now let's take a closer look at what I did there. I made my newsletter all about my readers. I rewarded them three times in one newsletter! Subscribers got to see the cover of Out of the Ashes before everyone else. They got an exclusive giveaway no one else can enter. AND they got a FREE story that's not available to anyone else.

I'm planning to keep this format for my newsletter because it's great for everyone. A higher open rate is what I want. Goodies are what my subscribers want. Everyone wins!

If you want to get in on all these goodies I'm giving my newsletter subscribers, click here.

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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23. Writer Wednesday: When To Hire An Editor

Today's topic comes from Sheena-kay who wants to know at what stage of your writing/manuscript you should hire an editor.

It depends. Some of my clients want to focus on content and making sure that all the necessary plot elements are in place. They hire me for developmental edits. In this case, they've drafted and revised but don't consider the work ready for submission to agents and/or publishers yet. I help them fix any content issues before they revise and polish their work.

Other clients like to wait until they can't find anything else to fix and then have me do a developmental edit. These clients feel like their manuscripts are strong already but want an outside opinion to make sure the story is coming across as clearly on the page as it is in their heads.

The next group is looking for a content edit because they feel pretty confident in their stories but want another pair of eyes on it to catch glaring issues as well as SPAG errors. These individuals usually have critique partners and/or beta readers who have helped them work on the book before I see it.

And the last option I see is from people who have the content the way they want it after going through several critique partners and beta readers and are basically looking for me to proofread for errors.

So when should you hire an editor? It really depends on what you're looking for from your editor and how helpful your CPs and betas have been. The only time I would say you absolutely need to hire an editor is before you self-publish. While you need to revise your own work, you can't be the only one to work on it. You need an editor. (Even editors can't edit their own work.) And in the case of self-publishing, a proofreader is a must. You don't want to let grammar and typos ruin a great story. :)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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24. Writer Wednesday: Choices of a Hybrid Author

Let's face it. The publishing world is changing. I've been a hybrid author for a while now, releasing books both through self-publishing and through traditional publishing houses. Honestly, there are pros and cons to both, and I feel you have to do what is best for you and your book.

I decided to branch out into writing adult, because I'm not writing enough age groups already, right? ;) Well, when I sat down to do my taxes (Eek!) I realized my self-published Ashelyn Drake books tend to sell better than my traditionally published Ashelyn Drake books. Hmm… It could be the age levels affecting this. It could be a lot of things, actually. Oddly enough, Ashelyn Drake sells better on Barnes and Noble than Amazon, too. (Don't ask me how I feel about B&N doing away with the Nook. I'm still crying over that.) But I've decided that my first Ashelyn Drake adult titles will be self-published. 

You can ask my agent how I feel about self-publishing. It makes me crazy nervous. Even though I've done it before, I panic. Why? It's a LOT of work to self-publish. A LOT. But if sales are better, I think that work is worth it. Does this mean I'll self-publish all my adult titles? Nope. I'm a hybrid author and I don't see that changing, because like I said, there are pros and cons to self-publishing and traditional publishing. 

But I feel really good about self-publishing Lies We Tell. Did I just title drop? ;) Scared? Yes. But good at the same time. I'm weird like that. And since Lies We Tell is with my editor now, it might be coming your way sooner than anticipated.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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25. Writer Wednesday: Famous For A Day

It's no secret I love doing school visits. They're my favorite form of promotion because I love talking to kids of all ages. I recently did a school visit at Blairstown Elementary School that involved three presentations and it was such a rewarding experience. It reminded me of something very important, something writers tend to forget. Famous doesn't have to mean you're a NYT best seller. 

When I walked into the school, people knew who I was. That baffled me at first. Especially when kids were whispering in the hallway, "That's Kelly Hashway." My first thought was, "They know my name?" That's when I discovered why. The librarian had purchased all of my children's books and had been reading them with the different grade levels. 

I saw this bulletin board of my books and the students reading them:

And then there were these displays in the library:

But the truly awesome thing was what wallpapered the sides of the librarian's desk. The kids had written to me and illustrated their favorite parts of my books:

I gave three presentations to encompass grades Pre-K through sixth, and while I was losing my voice, I'd do it all over in a heartbeat because these kids made me feel like a superstar for the day. They reminded me that even if you don't make millions from writing, you're still touching lives. Every "I love your books" I got was like someone handing me a big sack of money. No, it was better because it meant more to me.

So thank you, Blairstown Elementary School for letting me visit and making me feel so special.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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